Expect 5G to be deployed more widely by operators in the Asia-Pacific region than in other parts of the world. In a study from Analysys Mason that was commissioned by Ciena, 28 percent of mobile operators in the Asia-Pacific region said they expect to offer some level of 5G service by 2020, compared with 8 percent of mobile operators in the rest of the world.
Some of the impetus behind this 5G push is the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, Korea. Korea Telecom has said it will deploy a pre-standard 5G trial network by September 2017 so it can provide service at the Winter Olympics in 2018.
Likewise, the 2020 Summer Olympics are being held in Tokyo ,and Japanese operators are pushing ahead with 5G in anticipation of that event.
In addition, many operators believe they will be able to capture new revenue streams from services that will only be available once 5G is deployed. About 71 percent of operators in the developed APAC region have already started planning to launch 5G prior to 2024. And some are planning to implement 5G between 2018 and 2023.
The Analysys Mason report notes that operators are going to have to ramp up their investment in wireline infrastructure if they want to benefit from 5G services. The analyst firm noted that less than 25 percent of mobile operators in Asia Pacific have a fully integrated wireless/wireline strategy.
Network Slicing and SDN
The new revenue streams from 5G that operators are eyeing like streaming video, enhanced broadband, connected vehicles, and the industrial Internet of Things (IoT), will only be possible if operators converge their wireline and wireless networks so they can share resources and maximize network capacity, Analysys Mason said. The firm identified three key technologies — software-defined networking (SDN), network functions virtualization (NFV), and network slicing — that APAC operators need to invest in if they want to develop new revenue streams from 5G.
“Central to their strategy is integrating fiber and radio across their network architecture – a crucial element for MNOs to stay ahead of competition, transform their cost base, and provide a richer experience for their users,” said Stephen Wilson, principal analyst, Analysys Mason, in a prepared statement.
Analysys Mason surveyed 54 mobile operators in the Asia-Pacific region for the study. Respondents were CTOs and network planning executives.